A Father’s Journey to Understand & Heal After His Child’s Suicide + Signs Someone May Be Suicidal & How to Help

Dr. Caroline Leaf
5 min readMay 6, 2021

Warning: this blog and podcast contains references to suicide and may be distressing.

In a recent podcast (episode #279), I spoke with Jason Reid, founder of the Choose Life foundation and creator of Tell My Story, about his own experience as a grieving father, how to get help if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, how to recognize the signs if someone in your life is struggling, what we can do to help our loved ones who are going through a difficult time, and more.

Suicide is a public health crisis, with approximately 800,000 people dying by suicide each year. It is the 10th leading cause of deaths in the US and the 2nd leading cause of death globally, and is one of the leading causes of death amongst young people.

If you are feeling suicidal, contact the US national suicide prevention hotline and talk to someone today: 1–800–273–8255.

The teen suicide prevention hotline in the US is: 1–800-TLC-TEEN (852–8336) between 6–10pm PST. You can also text TEEN to 839863 between 6–9pm PST.

The UK national suicide hotline is: Samaritans Helpline 116 123.

The Australian national suicide hotline is: 13 11 14.

The South African national suicide hotline is: 0800 567 567. You can also text the number 31393.

For other hotlines, see Wikipedia. You can also call your nearest hospital for more resources.

For professional counseling, we recommend checking out:

BetterHelp: https://trybetterhelp.com/drleaf

ISEPP: https://psychintegrity.org/search-for-a-therapist

Amen Clinics for brain scan consultations: https://www.amenclinics.com

These are not crisis lines. If you are facing an emergency, we recommend contacting a medical professional immediately or dialing 911 (or the emergency number in your country).

Jason started the Choose Life foundation, whose mission is to end teen suicide by 2030, after his son Ryan committed suicide at age 14. No one in his family recognized the signs — they didn’t know that Ryan was struggling and didn’t think to ask if he needed help mentally. He was the class clown, he had a good home, he had friends, he had a loving family… he seemed “okay”, even though he…



Dr. Caroline Leaf

Mental health expert. I have spent the last 30+ years researching ways to help people manage mental health issues in school, work, and life: drleaf.com